With the emergence of the foreign fighter phenomenon in the Western Balkans, the majority of literature produced by local experts on violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism (VERLT) focuses primarily on the driving factors that inspired more than 1,000 citizens from the Western Balkans to join terrorist organizations in the war zone in Syria and Iraq. Albania saw about 140-150 of its citizens join. The research is exhaustive and is able to draw important conclusions regarding socio-economic factors that enabled radicalization and embrace for violent extremist ideologies among followers of the group.
Following the demise of ISIS’ territories in Syria and Iraq, more research needs to focus on evolving trends and what remains of ISIS’ ideology and recruitment strategies in the Western Balkans and Albania. Over the years, analysts have identified the presence of Islamist propaganda and content targeting an Albanian-speaking audience as one of the primary vehicles for recruitment. Online content helped local researchers to better understand the narratives behind recruitment, the language utilized and other audio and visual themes that gave life to the group’s image worldwide.
This aspect presents serious security threats for authorities trying to grapple with returning fighters and their supporters. Initial analysis warns that with ISIS’ territorial losses, the group is calling for attacks at home, “alongside the return of ideologically and weapons trained foreign fighters, the levels of extremism in the Western Balkans may become more of a local problem than one of foreign fighter recruitment” (Speckhard, Shajkovci, Bodo, & Fazliu, 2018). The evolution of language and changing dynamics leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Since the arrests of key leaders and recruits across the region, the online presence and open calls for support were drastically reduced or pushed in the dark web where tracking is more difficult for authorities and researchers alike.
The expert is to conduct a research with an aim to assess the level of threat that violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism poses for Albania, by evaluating and analysing the existing online content produced by terrorist organizations targeting audiences in Albania. The second objective for this research is to compare the evolution of the language since the territorial demise of ISIS and draw conclusions on the goals and activities ISIS-inspired ideologies project for Albanian citizens. Recommendations derived from the research will help relevant stakeholders and policy-makers to develop counter-narrative strategies, identify audiences at risk of radicalization and embrace for violent extremism that can lead to terrorism, as well as help develop action-oriented activities with local stakeholders and first-line responders.
Tasks and responsibilities:
Based on provided methodology the expert will perform the following Tasks and Responsibilities:
1- Stakeholder interviews – Prepare a list of stakeholders to be interviewed, which should be cleared with the Program Manager. Then, the expert shall conduct interviews with identified stakeholders.
2- Data Analysis – Based on the methodology and interviews with stakeholders prepare a descriptive analysis of the information collected, including charts and tables where appropriate to reflect the quantitative findings of the research, such as number of pages identified on social media and websites, number of followers, topics described etc.
3- Research Paper – Prepare a Research Paper on Online Radicalization in Albania. The format of the paper will tentatively be as follows:
a. Introduction b. Executive summary c. Key Findings d. Desk Research e. Data Analysis f. Conclusions and Recommendations A preliminary structure and draft of the report should be cleared by PM before finalization.
4- Presentation of research paper on online radicalization – Upon finalization of the Research Paper prepare a PowerPoint presentation and present the key findings in a national conference, tentatively by the end of May, with relevant stakeholders in CVE such as governmental institutions, Coordination Center on CVE, Ministry of Interior, Civil Society Organizations, researchers and academics in security, students representatives from international organizations engaged in CVE efforts etc.
1- Research Paper on Online Radicalization trends in Albania – 20 October 2019
2- PowerPoint Presentation of Key findings & Report presentation in regional meeting – 30 October 2019
• Advanced degree in social sciences and/or law, political sciences, international relations and security studies • At least 5 years professional experience in the area of security in civil society, academia, international institutions and/or government agencies. • At least 2 years professional experience in topics of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Leading to Terrorism, security issues and/or international affairs. • Have at least 2 published research papers and/or similar articles and reports on security related issues • Previous experience in presenting at a conference setting • Familiarity with qualitative research methods • Fluency in English is required • Ability to work under tight deadlines
The payment for this consultancy will be 2,250 euros payable upon submission of the above mentioned deliverables and aproval by project manager.
How to apply:
All applications are due by 11 August 2019. If you wish to apply for this position, please use the OSCE's online application link found under link https://jobs.osce.org/. The OSCE retains the discretion to re-advertise the vacancy, to cancel the recruitment, to offer a contract with modified Terms of Reference or for a different duration. The OSCE is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply to become a part of the organization. Please be aware that the OSCE does not request payment at any stage of the application and review process.